This winning thing is pretty spectacular, isn't it? The fact that one of our two wins came in a fashion that we've become used to seeing Villa lose in made it even better. But the thrill of victory aside, it's hard ignore that the team, in its past two matches, has looked like the team we thought we had coming into the season. They've played with passion, precision, and drive.
So let's dream for a minute. What if they keep this up for the rest of the season, and play our of their minds in a few instances? We've got five games left in the season, which means there are fifteen points waiting to be taken. Tottenham currently hold the last European spot with 53 points, and two fewer games played than we have. So even in the dream scenario, Europe is out of the question. Seventh or eighth place seems as if it would be the likely finish then, so the immediate impact wouldn't be huge. I think we all feel pretty safe in assuming Villa will continue in the Premier League, so where we finish is really pretty irrelevant.
But the psychological impact would be huge. Gone would be the calls for Houllier's head, and in their place would be calls to keep the club competitive. There would be pressure to build a team that could carry the end-of-season momentum into the 2011-12 campaign. I'd imagine there would be a good chance we'd see a new keeper and get some much-needed defensive help. The loanees would be returning from their trips, and we'd have youth to match a core that had turned a season around in a matter of matches. Villa would have to be considered likely to contend for Europe. We'd end the season thinking that next year's Villa could be what we thought this year's would be.
But fifteen points are exceedingly unlikely. I can see seven though, grabbing a win from Wigan and Stoke/West Bromwich Albion and a draw elsewhere. And the really wonderful thing is that I don't think eight fewer points really changes what I was talking about above. Especially if the team finish in the top half of the table, I think most of that stays true. The one thing I could imagine changing it is if the team got blown out by Liverpool and Arsenal.
So as the season winds down, and we get ready for a summer of endless transfer rumors, it's easy to dream. Fifteen points would be great, but seven or more would work too, I think. If the team can keep this energy going into the summer, I think we have the right to expect some big moves, and even bigger returns.
Two weeks. That's all it has taken to turn Villa from a team on life support to a team that has a very bright future. Winning works wonders.